Bell Labs Zips Past Google Fiber to Set Broadband Speed Record

Paul Lilly

Can we get some of that 10Gbps, please?

Records are meant to be broken, but sometimes they're downright shattered. Case in point -- Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, just set a new broadband speed record of 10 gigabits per second using traditional copper telephone lines combined with a prototype technology that's intended to show how existing copper access networks can be used to deliver 1Gbps symmetrical ultra-broadband access services.

The prototype technology is called XG-FAST and is an extension of G.fast technology, a new broadband standard currently being finalized by the ITU. G.fast, which is expected to be commercially available in 2015, uses a frequency of 106MHz to deliver broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps over a distance of 100 meters.

By comparison, XG-FAST uses an increased frequency range of up to 500MHz to achieve faster speeds, albeit over shorter distances. Using XG-FAST technology, Bell Labs was able to hit 1Gbps symmetrical over 70 meters on a single copper pair, and 10Gbps over 30 meters using two pairs of lines (bonding).

"Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to ‘invent the future’, with breakthroughs that are 10 times better than are possible today," explains Marcus Weldon , President of Bell Labs. "Our demonstration of 10Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible."

Interesting stuff, though Bell Labs set the record in a lab under ideal conditions. Quality of wire, crosstalk, and other factors can all affect real-world results. Nevertheless, it's pretty exciting that 10Gbps speeds are visible in the distance.

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